Looking Out To Sea

Teaching styles in capoeira and BJJ

It’s been about two months now since I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so I’ve got a better understanding of how it’s being taught now.

I’m really impressed with the teaching at Cross Combat, and I can tell it’s something that William and his team take a fair amount of pride in. It seems to rely on a few fundamentals:

  • Focus on one thing per class
  • Building technique piecemeal
  • Progressive resistance

Nothing that seems outlandish, unusual or revolutionary but the reality is that it’s productive. On top of this there is some philosophical approach which emphasises exploration and flow over exacting instruction.

The attitude is very similar to the teaching in capoeira (at least, in Mão No Chão) but the actual teaching is very different structure is very different. We definitely don’t focus on a single thing during a lesson — a scattergun approach would be a more accurate description.

I think we try for progressive resistance but miss the full value. We can start off very collaborative but there’s no steady progression from there. A predictable next step for each level of resistance would be valuable to have: in this way it’s always obvious how the other person will react. On that topic a prohibition against malicia and malandragem during training until it’s explicitly allowed. Indeed, that is a level of resistance that can be saved for an actual game.

It’s the end of the Christmas holidays and several weeks since I’ve done any capoeira or been to a class. I’m going to rethink everything I have written here in light of what we actually do the next time I train.